The Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Business Council of Australia today release a statement of agreed principles and policy suggestions ahead of the Jobs and Skills Summit.
Both businesses and workers agree that the Summit is an opportunity to come together and collaborate for the betterment of industry and the workforce and to raise the living standards of all Australians.
To achieve this vision the BCA and the ACTU have laid out a set of agreed principles and policy suggestions:
- Improving women’s workforce participation: As a core economic policy area, and the importance of increasing both participation and advancement and reducing the gender pay gap, including by strengthening Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave to 26 weeks.
- Future industries: on the need for industry policy that drives innovation and investment, and for decarbonisation to be carefully managed for workers, communities and businesses through a National Energy Transition Authority.
- Employment participation: That achieving and sustaining full employment should be a guiding framework of the Summit. That despite historically low unemployment, barriers to employment remain and support services need to be reformed to enable increased participation
- Skills and training: That both parties reiterate their commitment to the joint ACCI/Ai Group/BCA/ACTU Statement of Common Interests on Skills and Training.
- Migration: That Australia’s migration program is critical and needs to be well managed, that we should rebalance our migration system with improved pathways to permanent residency for temporary visa holders, overseas skilled workers should complement not replace training Australians, there should be an immediate review of the skills list and the future workforce needs, and stronger steps taken to prevent the exploitation of visa workers.
- Workplace relations: The ACTU and BCA are united in their desire to see the living standards of Australians grow. Both the BCA and the ACTU believe the bargaining system under the Fair Work Act needs to be reformed so it is simpler, fairer, and more accessible.
Quotes attributable to Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott:
“We’re pleased to have worked with the ACTU to find common ground ahead of the summit. We don’t agree on everything but where we can find solutions, of course we should.
“The summit is a chance start forging a new national direction, and repositioning Australia on the global frontier. We have to work together to deliver new industry formation, new and higher paying jobs, higher living standards, better access to skills and training, and a fairer and more inclusive society.
Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:
“This agreement shows what is possible when employers and unions come together to address the issues facing working people and our economy. Finding solutions on skills and training, migration, women’s participation, updating our workplace laws and preparing our workforce for the future will benefit the country.
“Getting wages moving is essential for our country. Working people and their families need the Government to act to fix the problems that have been holding us back so that everyone shares in the prosperity of our nation.”